Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Leviticus-Part 8

We know studying the korbanot in Leviticus can be tedious at times, but they are very important to understand and that is why we are going over them here. This is only a basic study but it can be full of meaning for you. We want to encourage you to stick with it and take the korbanot to another level. Remember, these are from the Lord and the intricacies of the offerings were learned by the time a person was about 13 years old in Mishkan and Temple times. Paul used the term “rightly dividing the word of truth” in 2 Tim 2.15 when discussing how we should interpret the Scriptures, and this term is taken from the Temple and related to the korbanot procedures we are discussing. We can see where the worshiper had to “rightly divide” what offering he was going to give, what animal to bring, what bread offering to bring, where it was to be taken, how it was divided up after the animal was slaughtered, where to put the blooda and what bread offering is given. The priest had to know exactly what to do along with the worshiper. So, with that said, let’s move on.

In contrast to the animal offerings, bird offerings are slaughtered by a procedure called “Melikah” in which the priest punctures the back of the bird’s neck with his thumbnail and cuts through to the front. In another departure, the blood is not caught in a vessel but it is applied to the altar from the the body of the bird. The following will highlight the differences between the bird chatat (sin) and the bird olah (burnt).

In the Korban Chatat (sin offering) of a bird, the bird is slain on the floor of the azarah (courtyard) near the southwest corner of the altar. The windpipe or esophagus is cut. The blood is applied on the lower part of the southwest corner of the altar. It is applied by sprinkling and draining. The meat is eaten by the kohanim (priests) in the courtyard during the day and one night.

The Korban Olah (Burnt offering) of a bird is slain on top of the altar at the southeast or southwest corner of the altar. Both the windpipe and the esophagus is cut. The blood is applied on the upper wall of the altar and it is drained. The meat is burned on the altar and is not eaten. The chatat and olah of the bird is kodshai kodeshim (most holy and can only be eaten in the azarah).

As we have mentioned before, the Scriptures give thirteen types of Mincha (bread) offerings. The Mincha Solet is wheat, fine flour, mixed with oil and a kometz (a three-fingered scoop) is taken to the altar and burned and the remainder will go to the kohanim. The Mincah Machavat is wheat, mixed with oil and fried on a griddle. The kometz is taken to the altar and burned and the remainder is given to the kohanim. The Mincha Marcheshet is wheat, mixed with oil and fried in a pan. The kometz goes to the altar and the remainder is given to the kohanim.

The Mincha Challah (Challot is plural) is wheat, mixed with oil and baked in an oven. The kometz goes up to the altar and the remainder to the kohanim. The Mincha Rekikim is wheat, baked in an oven with oil smeared on it, baked in wafers. The kometz goes to the altar and the remainder goes to the kohanim. The Mincha Choteh is brought by a person who has done certain sins and cannot afford an animal or a bird korban. It consists of wheat, and no oil or levonah is added. There is a kometz taken to the altar and the remainder is eaten by the kohanim.

The Mincha Chavitin of the High Priest is wheat, mixed with oil and scalded in hot water, baked and fries. It is burned entirely on the altar, half in the morning and the other half in the afternoon. The Mincha Chinnuch (Consecration of a Kohen) is wheat, mixed with oil, scalded in hot water, baked and fried. It is burned on the altar. The Mincha Sotah (jealousy) mincha is barley, and is made with raw flour. The kometz goes to the altar and the remainder to the kohen. The Mincha Omer is barley, mixed with oil, with the kometz to the altar and the remainder to the kohanim. The Mincha Nesachim is wheat, mixed with oil and burned on the altar. The Mincha Chatat is wheat, no oil and no levonah (frankincense), raw flour with the kometz taken to the altar and the remainder to the kohanim.

The following are non-altar baked offerings. The Lechem ha Pannim (showbread) is unleavened and specially shaped. There will be twelve loaves with two spoonfuls of levonah and eaten by the kohanim after they are taken off the table and replaced by newer loaves on the Sabbath. The Sh’tai Ha Lechem are the two loaves on Shavuot, they are leavened and specially shaped. They are offered with two lambs on Shavuot and eaten by the kohanim. The Todah Mincha are ten leavened loaves, ten challah loaves, ten rekikim and unleavened loaves and ten scalded loaves. They are associated with a todah (thanks) offering and one of each kind is given to the kohanim and the rest is eaten by the owner and guests. The mincha that goes with the Nazir’s ram are ten unleavened challah loaves and ten unleavened rekikim loaves. Two breads (one of each kind) is given to the kohanim and the rest is eaten by the Nazir and guests.

As you can see, the Mincha offerings come in many forms. However, they share certain things and features. All consisted primarily of flour, all have at least a part offered on the altar, and some are burned in their entirety. Of those not entirely burned, the part removed from the mincha and burned is known as the kometz; the remainder of the mincha is eaten by the kohanim. Most have added to them a measure of levonah (frankincense) which is also burned on the altar Some mincha offerings are fried or baked before being offered; the resulting loaves are them crumbled and the kometz is taken from the pieces. A mincha may be a communal or personal offering, voluntary or obligatory.

Another thing they have in common as they are part of what is seen as a covenantal meal with the Lord. That is why meat, bread and wine were used. We have covered this aspect of the korbanot previously so we won’t dwell on this too much, but the korbanot had two functions. There was the expiatory aspect and the covenantal meal aspect. The worshiper was “breaking bread with God” and so there was the imagery of a feast being communicated in the Temple in a continual rededication of the covenantal bond initiated at Sinai. This is what is called a “Lord’s Supper.”

As we have discussed before, the Temple was a very, very busy place. Sin had to be dealt with and the rededication of the covenant. The worshiper committed themselves completely to the Lord. The worshiper had to follow the “tavnit” or the blueprint set forth as the Lord gave it. At the time, the Mishkan was the holiest place on earth. The kedusha that was on Mount Sinai was transferred to the Mishkan. It is there that that these korbanot were to be brought until the Temple was built..

We are both physical and spiritual. During our lives, each pull us in its direction. Who we are is determined by our decisions of which one we will follow. We have thoughts, words and deeds. In a korban (offering), the hands are placed on the head, the seat of the intellect. Then sin is confessed, corresponding to speech and words. Then the different parts are burned on the altar. The internal organs in Hebrew are used to illustrate the sites of thought and desire (kidney, liver, brain, etc). The legs speak of our walk and actions. The fat of the animal speaks of lust, folly and that which weighs us down. The worshiper must realize that it should be him on that altar. The korban must feel different than just the ordinary slaughtering of an animal for food or clothing. The worshiper must feel “teshuvah.”

In the Mishkan and in the “Shekinah” (presence) of Yehovah, the worshiper is surrounded by kedusha, which is the focus of the Book of Leviticus. They hear the music being played and sung by the Levites. He smells the bakeries and they can hear the animals. They can see and smell the smoke and all the sights and sounds of people praying. The worshiper should resolve in himself that the direction of his life should be upward. Like the pieces of the animal that has ascended to the altar, the worshiper must elevate themselves to a higher level. When they ate part of the animal, they ingest the ideas associated with that offering and make it a part of themselves.

If you have ever walked away from a near death experience, like an auto accident, and you looked back and saw your car totaled, you would get a feeling of how precious life is. No toy or gift is worth that feeling. When a real, living animal is looking at you one minute and the next minute it dies right in front of you, you feel it. You get a real sense of the value of life. Have you ever eaten a chicken or a steak? Have you ever worn real fur or leather shoes? Have you ever had a leather purse or coat? If these physical benefits are enough of a constructive purpose or benefit for a person to justify the use of that animal, how much more is the use of the animal in korban for the spiritual benefit of the worshiper as commanded by Yehovah in these chapters in Leviticus?

In Part 9 we will pick up here.

Posted in All Teachings, Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Feasts of the Lord, The Tanach, Understanding the New Testament

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